Penguins defenseman suspended for illegal check to the head

The National Hockey League announced on Thursday that the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was suspended for illegal check to the head of Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Marcus Kruger. The incident took place right before the end of the game when Pittsburgh was about to end its 3-2 victory.

Nine minutes were missing until the final whistle of the game when Engelland launched himself into Kruger driving his forearm to the head of the Chicago forward. NHL considered this move was meant to harm the Chicago forward and so they suspended the defenseman for the following three games. Brendan Shanahan, the NHL executive explained that by studying Engelland’s position it is clear that the incident was a “recklessly targeted shot to Kruger’s head”. As a matter of fact, Kruger suffered a head injury from the hit.

The National Hockey League adopted a new set of regulations during the 2010-2011 season. According to these provisions, an illegal check to the head is considered an infraction and it is punished with a penalty. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins did not receive any penalty on the Tuesday game.

The incident upset Blackhawks enforcer John Scott who immediately attacked Engelland. In the end, it was still John Scott who received an instigator penalty and the Penguins scored on the ensuing power play.

Being suspended for three games was not the only punishment that Engelland received. According to the declarations of the NHL, the player will also have to forfeit more than $9,000 of his salary in order to make up for the damage he has caused. The money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund which provides financial support to the old hockey players who cannot afford to pay for medical assistance. The fund was created because many of these hockey legends were forced to sign incorrect contracts that did not offer them medical insurance.

Engelland will miss three important games; we shall see how the team will cope with his absence. The games that the player won’t be able to attend are against Winnipeg, Carolina and Philadelphia.

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